Evaluators know they are supposed to identify and engage with stakeholders. What happens when the client has a very narrow concept of the meaning of evaluation? What happens when the primary stakeholders, including the client, disappear just as the evaluation gets started? First, it is important to acknowledge the challenge, then develop a strategy to negotiate the scope of the evaluation and to broaden the community of stakeholders. Divergent pathways are explored to facilitate use of the evaluation findings in such settings.
The evaluation presented in this article combines a number of the problems outlined in a textbook example: confusion between "control" and "evaluation," insufficient resources, overly ambitious goals, and tension between stakeholders, a situation that led to disregard for all the principles enumerated in the French evaluation society charter: pluralism, distance, competency, respect for individuals, transparency, responsibility, and opportunity.
The key to a successful or unsuccessful evaluation is often the quality of the relationship between evaluators and their clients. This article examines the social rather than technical aspects of evaluation and how this can affect the outcome. The author discusses the critical interactions and responsibilities of the evaluation manager and the evaluation practitioner when an evaluation is contracted out. Practice guidance is offered in how to manage an evaluation contract to a successful conclusion.
L'influence de l'évaluation sur les suites des projets d'expérimentation: l'exemple des projets d'informatisation au Québec
The dissemination and sustainability of many health-care IT projects in Quebec have hardly been influenced by their evaluation, even when the evaluation was participative, pluralist, comprehensive, formative, and user-focussed. This article aims to improve our understanding of why that has been the case and to suggest courses of action and reflection. Human and organizational factors and other factors related to the evaluation itself are considered.
Although the evaluation of public policies is a subject of growing interest in Latin America, there are problems with the design and implementation of evaluations, as well as with the limited use of their results. In many cases, the evaluations have more to do with generating descriptions and less with assessing these activities and using those assessments to improve planning and decision making.
Guest Editor's Remarks: As I recall – or how to take advantage of less-than-successful evaluation experiences / Un mot de la rédactrice invitée : « Je me souviens » ou comment tirer profit d'expériences d'évaluation qu'on ne peut qualifier de succès
BOOK REVIEWS: D. Russ-Eft & H. Preskill. (2009). Evaluation in Organizations: A Systematic Approach to Enhancing Learning, Performance and Change (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Basic Books. 552 pages.
BOOK REVIEWS: S. Donaldson, C.A. Christie, and M.M. Mark. (2009) What Counts as Credible Evidence in Applied Research and Evaluation Practice? Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 265 pages.
BOOK REVIEWS: J. A. Morell. (2010). Evaluation in the Face of Uncertainty: Anticipating Surprise and Responding to the Inevitable. New York, NY: Guilford. 303 pages.
There is now a clear choice of frameworks for managing program evaluation—the managing of one or more studies or the managing of an evaluation capacity building structure and process. This is a distinction with a difference, and this article conceptualizes that difference and shows how the two frameworks understand three problems common to program evaluation: (a) lack of systematic integration within a larger program improvement process, (b) difficulty in finding an appropriate evaluator, and (c) lack of appropriate conceptualization prior to the inception of the evaluation study.